Peter Taksøe-Jensen is the Danish Ambassador to India, Bhutan, Maldives, and Sri Lanka, Nepal since August 2015. Prior to this, he served as the Ambassador to the United States from 2010–2015. He has worked in various areas of ministry which include the Security Policy Department, Legal Service, and the European Union Law Department and on various government commissions. Taksøe-Jensen obtained his law degree from the University of Copenhagen. Dr. Jasmeet Kaur interviews him on his viewpoint on the current scenario in healthcare.
Q. What are the updates for 2019 regarding Indo-Danish relationship in Healthcare?
The relationship between India and Denmark is becoming better each day. In December 2018, the Foreign Ministers of both the countries met in New Delhi and relaunched the Indo-Danish Joint Commission, which provides the framework for all strategic sectors’ cooperation including healthcare. This breakthrough paved the way for the Danish Prime Minister’s visit to India in January this year. Among other things, he participated in Vibrant Gujarat spearheading a Danish business delegation, where he also met with Prime Minister Modi. The purpose of these visits was to strengthen political and economic ties between India and Denmark because both countries will benefit tremendously from increased interaction and business collaboration. In this regard, healthcare is a key focus area for 2019. This decision is based on the success of two large projects in 2018; one is focused on non-communicable diseases and the other on attaining the SDGs within healthcare. We were able to develop concrete grounds for working in a focused manner in this field and assist Danish companies looking to gain a footing in India. Several Danish companies are already established in the Indian market including Novo Nordisk, Widex, Coloplast, Fertin, Falck and many more are expressing their interest.
Q. The Danish Health System is incorporating changes for good in recent past with new hospitals and other delivery mechanisms, can you share your viewpoint on the relevance of them to India?
The Danish health system is a publicly funded scheme, which covers all Danish citizens. There is a lot Denmark can contribute to India in terms of know-how and sharing of best practices. Areas where Denmark can assist India to include:
- Digitalization of some solutions to address the challenges that exist in the current healthcare system. Denmark is a leader when it comes to digital workflows and working with electronic health records. Like in India, there are multiple stakeholders within the healthcare system (doctors, patients, nurses, local and state authorities, pharmacies, etc.) that are bound to work together but at the same time operate as individual entities as well. Denmark managed to achieve a high level of efficiency by digitalizing processes and thus, improve efficiency.
- Digitalization has helped Denmark save both time and money. These learnings can be adopted in India to bring down costs in public as well as private set-ups.
- Empowered its patients allowing them to access all relevant information about their health and well-being. I believe that the Indian government’s launch of Ayushman Bharat Scheme is also a move in a similar direction and with the similar intent of providing better healthcare access to all. Therefore, I see a great scope of collaboration and partnership between the two countries.
- Other areas where Denmark has done exceptionally well is the use of Telemedicine for connecting patients in remote locations and reduce time at the hospitals.
- The Danish hospital system is undergoing unprecedented expansion and restructuring. Denmark has spent years of research and gathered experts from all over the world to develop 5 new national super hospitals and renovating 11 existing hospitals. India can leverage this knowledge while it is at a stage where there are still new hospitals getting on.
Q. What can India offer to Denmark, your opinion?
One of the common areas of work between Denmark and India is dealing with NCDs. It is a global challenge. Denmark is currently investing a lot in developing solutions to address this global multifaceted issue. Our research environments, universities, and companies are trying to create products that could be suitable not only for Denmark but across the globe. One of the very specific things Denmark could explore is:
- India has a lot of data available and Denmark could collaborate with India to develop solutions and therapies.
India is a bigger country with a much bigger amount of data; this can be utilized to further make the Danish healthcare sector more effective.
Furthermore, private players dominate the Indian healthcare sector, which has created different incentives and quicker implementation time. Both learnings from private players and data from India can be beneficial to the Danish healthcare sector.
Q. Any message for the readers of InnoHEALTH Magazine that you want to share?
Healthcare is a global challenge, and we need global solutions to attain the Sustainable Development Goals. Having in mind that 17 percent of the world population lives in India, it is safe to say that if India fails, the world will not succeed. Therefore, the strategic sector cooperation between Denmark and India is very important.